Ailuromortuusphilia [ahy-loo r-uh-mor-toos-fil-ee-uh] noun a liking for dead cats, as by indie film directors.
While viewing a preview of Kill List (unrated, directed by Ben Wheatley), I realized my place in psycho-babble science had been secured: I had discovered ailuromortuusphilia. Or, in short, why do indie film makers love dead cats?
In Kill List, which I’m sure will top my list of 10 worst films of 2012, we are treated to a cat that has been bound and hung (as in “To be hanged from the neck until dead”) on the front porch of a family made up of a troubled, but sympathetic lad (Harry Simpson), his beautiful, well intentioned Mom (MyAnna Buring), and a Hit-Man Dad (Neil Maskell).
(This paragraph contains a spoiler.) The first third of Kill List consists of a series of arguments between Mom and Hit-Man Dad because the money is running out. He hasn’t worked (killed anyone) in eight months because his back hurts. In the next third, he gets his groove back thanks to his hit-man buddy (Michael Smiley) and gets assignments to kill perverts, which is done in such graphic style that this movie must be classified as snuff porn. Then the cat gets hung by hit-man buddy’s girlfriend (Emma Fryer), and in the final third, the film turns into Wicker Man and Hit-Man Dad kills his buddy, his wife and his son. Ugly, pointless and silly.
Getting back to cats, I really liked Paw-Paw, the cat in Miranda July’s The Future, in which a troubled couple (July and Hamish Linklater) adopts a cat who serves as a catalyst (pun intended) to get the twosome to re-exam their lives.